WASHINGTON – Republican and Democratic senators have agreed to pump billions of dollars in federal funding into building electric car charging stations and other infrastructure for low-emission vehicles.
Under an appropriations bill released by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Monday, the Transportation Department would distribute $3.5 billion over the next five years for projects that reduce carbon emissions from transportation.
It would also hand out $1 billion in grants for infrastructure supporting vehicles powered by electricity, hydrogen or natural gas along designated sections of highway.
“This bipartisan legislation includes the first-ever climate title in a highway bill and would invest $10 billion in policies and innovative projects aimed at reducing emissions and enhancing resilience,” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said in a statement.
The bill also calls for $4.9 billion in funding to protect roads and highways from natural disasters including hurricanes and wildfires, which scientists believe could increase in quantity as the planet warms.
The climate change-related funding was a relatively small part of a $287 billion transportation bill, the majority of which will go to repairing the nation’s aged highways and bridges over the next five years. The committee said it was the largest highway funding bill in history.
“By modernizing our roads and bridges, we can make the roads safer for every family driving on them,” Sen. Tom Barrasso, R-Wyo., said in a statement. “The bill cuts Washington red tape, so road construction can get done faster, better, cheaper, and smarter.”
Republicans and Democrats have been at odds over electric vehicles, which represent a threat to gasoline and diesel demand in the decades ahead as drivers make the switch. Barrasso introduced legislation in October to end tax credits for electric vehicles, saying the program “largely benefits the wealthiest Americans.”
This article was published on chron.com